Meet Simon, a person supported by Voyage (DCA) Powys North in Wales. Simon describes himself as a very traditional family man with a passion for the Welsh language. Simon enjoys being part of the community, watching the Royal Welsh show on TV and socialising in his local pub.
Understanding Simon’s needs
Simon has autism and a learning disability, meaning he requires one to one support. He also has Bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). His OCD and Bipolar disorder can cause Simon to experience high levels of anxiety and compulsion. When we began supporting Simon in February 2020, we knew it was important to be extremely open with both Simon and his support network about what his support would look like.
We developed a person-centred support plan together. This means Simon is treated as an equal partner in the creation of the plan, with his wants, interests and preferences at the heart of all decisions.
This approach helps Simon to understand and process the support provided in a way that works for him. For example, Simon’s favourite thing about his team is that each member helps him with different tasks. This is because after speaking with Simon, we knew he would benefit from making associations with a familiar care team. This results in a wide variety of skilled staff that can support Simon with activities he enjoys, while maintaining a consistent approach to care delivery.
Simon experienced a difficult time when we first began providing support. His whole routine was disrupted by the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 and he was feeling unsettled. This led to increasing anxiety and a slight relapse in his mental health.
We knew Simon didn’t want to be admitted to hospital, so we worked closely with him, his psychiatrist, the health board and his social worker to provide tailored support that would avoid escalations. This included changes to his medication, which helped to ease and alleviate some of his anxieties.
Changes to routines
Simon’s care team recognised the changes to Simon’s routine, caused by COVID-19 restrictions, was having a negative effect on him. For example, the car is a vital tool for Simon when his OCD compulsions are high, or when he is experiencing anxieties.
Going for a drive can be a great de-escalation technique that helps him to relax. To make sure we could maintain this while restrictions were in place, we utilised exemption cards in the car to explain why we were out and the benefit to Simon’s mental health. We also ensured we visited quiet areas where social distancing could be maintained.
Simon loves to be a part of the community, eating out at cafes and socialising at pubs. Due to COVID-19, this was no longer possible, and it began to affect him. The team noticed this and started thinking of creative solutions to provide Simon with safe social elements. This included the introduction of a pub night within the house on a Monday and Friday, as well as lots of picnics outside.
The team also utilised this time to develop Simon’s independent living skills, such as hoovering his room. This gave Simon a sense of purpose and is something he continues to achieve. Plus, he can now make a tasty banana bread loaf!
Exciting times ahead
Now restrictions have been relaxed, there are some exciting times ahead. Simon tells us his biggest goal will be going on his first holiday since 2017 next month! This will be at Haven in Pwllheli for three days.
Alongside this, his other individual goals include socialising more with his peers, continuing to access the community and seeing his family more. As his support team, we’re proud to support him maintain his physical health, mental well-being and reach his goals.
Learn more about supported living
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